Excerpts from the expert…Vinod GG - LabourNet - Enable livelihood of Informal Sector

Excerpts from the expert…

This issue talks about ‘Issues pertaining to Human resources in Social Enterprises’ and also carries various perspectives on the same from our industry experts. Here is an insider view of LabourNet’s perceptions on the same from Vinod GG in his Expert Note.

1) For a social enterprise like LabourNet, how important do you think it is for the frontline to understand the value systems and the goals of the organisation?

Frontline staff is critical across all organisations and particularly for a social enterprise like ours. Field staff constitute approximately 60% of the organisation. A motivated, value-driven ground level staff, in my experience, are integral to the successful functioning of the organisation as a whole as they need to change mindsets of candidates and workers for them to believe that investing in themselves is essential for their future.

2) What do you think should be the driving force for the frontline and the mid-management to work for a social enterprise?

Social enterprises are fundamentally different from traditional business models as they are primarily looking for replicable solutions to complex social problems. In the case of a social enterprise like LabourNet, working towards meeting the organisation’s primary objectives becomes as critical as ensuring that the solutions are scalable and sustainable.

Therefore social enterprises need to provide their employees with the freedom to be innovative and entrepreneurial. Inclusive work environments promote teamwork and creativity, all while keeping the organisation’s core objectives in mind. This is very different from traditional business models that are far more cookie cutter in nature, where there is little room for creativity and personal growth.

I would, therefore, say that the driving force for the frontline and mid-management to work for a social enterprise would be the desire to meet the organisation’s core objectives to the best of their abilities.

3) What role do you think the Human resources management of a social enterprise has in terms of building and maintaining the value systems and ethics of the organisation?

Like all organisations, HR professionals in a social enterprise are responsible for adding value to the organisations and contributing to the ethical fibre of the organisations. Building and maintaining the moral and ethical value systems of the organisation is key to running a successful mission-driven organisation. Human resource management must, therefore, take into account the employees current motivation with their desired state of believing in the mission of the organisation.

4) How do you think the mid-management should pursue the review systems, capability building and the vision of the organisation?

Mid-Management is vital to an organisation’s success. LabourNet’s mid-management is professionals with diverse backgrounds and accomplishments. They effectively act as a bridge between the senior management vision and the rest of the organisation’s employees – the mid-management plays a vital role in moderating the top management’s focus on macro-level issues and innovatively implementing it based on-ground reality.

The mid-management is key to maintaining open channels of communication within the organisation. Employees often approach their managers to communicate their concerns regarding the implementation of new policies at work, and other problems they may be facing at work concerning their job roles. These managers are required to address these concerns and boost the morale of field staff. If this does not happen effectively, there will be a communication gap within the organisation, creating a non-inclusive work environment and a feeling that the problem that the organisation set out to deliver is too complex and impossible to execute. This will impact the success of the organisation in achieving its objectives and goals.

5) How important do you think it is for the leadership of a social enterprise to find the right business model which strikes a balance between the vision and the question of self – sustainability of the organisation?

Social enterprises are distinctly different from traditional business models because they are focused on achieving their primary objective. In such a case, profits are required for the sustainability of the organisation. In other words, profits are necessary in order to help the organisation achieve its primary objective.

Because social enterprises are focused on achieving their core objective, finding the right business model is integral to the success of the organisation itself. Therefore having core business skills and acumen to run an organisation efficiently is the key to solving critical social problems. In my experience, there is no singular business model that social enterprises adopt. Each social enterprise is different in terms of objectives to meet, stakeholders, location to target, and so on. Therefore, each social enterprise must find the unique business model that helps it achieve its core objectives as best possible.

In terms of achieving sustainability, I believe that social enterprises need to be self-sustainable. Self-sustainability allows social enterprises to achieve their primary objectives without compromising on the organisation’s values and vision. However, this self-sustainability is only possible when the leadership of the organisation is clear about the core objectives that need to be met, and the best possible way to meet them. Based on the vision of the leadership, other employees of the organisation can align themselves, accordingly, helping the social enterprise achieve its objectives in the best possible ways.

Warm Regards

Vinod GG,

CFO

LabourNet Services India Pvt. Ltd.

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